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Intel "Comet Lake" Not Before 2020, "Ice Lake-S" Not Before Q3-2020, Roadmap Suggests

Earlier this week, news of Intel's 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" processors did rounds as the company's short-term response to AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors. According to slides leaked to the web by Hong Kong-based tech publication XFastest, "Comet Lake" isn't Intel's short-term reaction to "Zen 2," but rather all it has left to launch. These processors won't launch before 2020, the slide suggests, meaning that AMD will enjoy a free rein over the processor market until the turn of the year, including the all-important Holday shopping season.

More importantly, the slide suggests that "Comet Lake" will have a market presence spanning Q1 and Q2 2020, meaning that the 10 nm "Ice Lake" won't arrive on the desktop platform until at least Q3 2020. It's likely that the LGA1200 platform which debuts with "Comet Lake" will extend to "Ice Lake," so consumers aren't forced to buy a new motherboard within a span of six months. The platform diagram put out in another slide junks the idea of an on-package MCM of the processor and PCH dies (which was likely ripped off from the "Ice Lake-Y" MCM platform diagram).

Intel Internal Memo Reveals that even Intel is Impressed by AMD's Progress

Today an article was posted on Intel's internal employee-only portal called "Circuit News". The post, titled "AMD competitive profile: Where we go toe-to-toe, why they are resurgent, which chips of ours beat theirs" goes into detail about the recent history of AMD and how the company achieved its tremendous growth in recent years. Further, Intel talks about where they see the biggest challenges with AMD's new products, and what the company's "secret sauce" is to fight against these improvements.
The full article follows:

Intel to Cut Prices of its Desktop Processors by 15% in Response to Ryzen 3000

Intel is embattled in the client-segment desktop processor business, with AMD's imminent launch of its 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processors. Intel's 9th generation Core processors may lose their competitiveness to AMD's offerings, and are expected to get relieved by the company's "Ice Lake" desktop processors only in 2020. Until then, Intel will market its processors through price-cuts, promotions, bundles, and focusing on their gaming prowess. The company will refresh its HEDT (high-end desktop) processor lineup some time in Q3-2019. According to Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes citing sources in the motherboard industry, Intel's immediate response to 3rd generation Ryzen will be a series of price-cuts to products in its client-segment DIY retail channel.

According to these sources, prices of 9th generation Core processors could be cut by a minimum of 10 percent, and a maximum of 15 percent, varying by SKUs. This could see prices of popular gaming/enthusiast SKUs such as the Core i9-9900K, the i7-9700K, and the i5-9600K, drop by anywhere between $25 to $75. AMD is launching the Ryzen 9 3900X to compete with the i9-9900K, the Ryzen 7 3800X to compete with the i7-9700K, and the Ryzen 5 3600X to take on the i5-9600K. The three SKUs, according to AMD's internal testing, match the Intel chips at gaming, and beat them at content-creation tasks. At the heart of 3rd generation Ryzen processors is AMD's new Zen 2 microarchitecture, which brings significant IPC gains. AMD is also increasing core-counts on its mainstream desktop platform with the introduction of the Ryzen 9 family of 12-core and 16-core processors in the AM4 package.

Intel "Ice Lake" IPC Best-Case a Massive 40% Uplift Over "Skylake," 18% on Average

Intel late-May made its first major disclosure of the per-core CPU performance gains achieved with its "Ice Lake" processor that packs "Sunny Cove" CPU cores. Averaged across a spectrum of benchmarks, Intel claims a best-case scenario IPC (instructions per clock) uplift of a massive 40 percent over "Skylake," and a mean uplift of 18 percent. The worst-case scenario sees its performance negligibly below that of "Skylake." Intel's IPC figures are derived entirely across synthetic benchmarks, which include SPEC 2016, SPEC 2017, SYSMark 2014 SE, WebXprt, and CineBench R15. The comparison to "Skylake" is relevant because Intel has been using essentially the same CPU core in the succeeding three generations that include "Kaby Lake" and "Coffee Lake."

A Chinese tech-forum member with access to an "Ice Lake" 6-core/12-thread sample put the chip through the CPU-Z internal benchmark (test module version 17.01). At a clock-speed of 3.60 GHz, the "Ice Lake" chip allegedly achieved a single-core score of 635 points. To put this number into perspective, a Ryzen 7 3800X "Matisse" supposedly needs to run at 4.70 GHz to match this score, and a Core i7-7700K "Kaby Lake" needs to run at 5.20 GHz. Desktop "Ice Lake" processors are unlikely to launch in 2019. The first "Ice Lake" processors are 4-core/8-thread chips designed for ultraportable notebook platforms, which come out in Q4-2019, and desktop "Ice Lake" parts are expected only in 2020.

ADATA Shows Off a JEDEC-compliant 32GB Dual-rank DIMM That Isn't "Double Capacity"

Last year, with the introduction of the Intel Z390 chipset, there was a spate of so-called "double capacity DIMMs" or DC DIMMs, tall memory modules with two rows of DRAM chips, which added up to 32 GB per DIMM. You needed a Z390 platform and a 9th generation Core processor that supported up to 128 GB of memory, to use these things. With the introduction of 16 Gb DDR4 DRAM chips by both Micron and Samsung, JEDEC-compliant 32 GB unbuffered DIMMs of standard height are finally possible, and ADATA put together the first of these, shown off at Computex 2019.

The AD4U2666732GX16 is a 32-gigabyte dual-rank unbuffered DIMM made using 16 Gb chips supplied by Micron Technology. The modules tick at JEDEC-standard DDR4-2666 speeds, at a module voltage of 1.2 Volts. ADATA didn't disclose timings. The 16 Gb DRAM chips are made by Micron in an advanced (3rd generation) 10 nm-class silicon fabrication process to achieve the desired transistor-density. 32 GB DIMMs are expected to hit critical-mass in 2H-2019/2020, with the advent of AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen "Matisse," and Intel's "Ice Lake-S" desktop processors. Memory manufacturers are also expected to put out speedy and highly-compatible single-rank 16-gigabyte DIMMs using 16 Gb chips, which could finally make 32 GB dual-channel the mainstream memory configuration, moving up from half a decade of 2x 8 GB.

Intel 10th Generation Core Case-badges Revealed

Intel laid rest to speculation that post 9th generation, it could replace its Core brand with something else. The 10th generation Core processors, built around the 10 nm "Ice Lake" microachitecture, will feature the first noteworthy IPC increments since "Skylake" thanks to their new "Sunny Cove" CPU cores. These will also feature DLBoost, a fixed-function matrix-multiplication hardware that speeds up deep-neural net building and training by 5x, as well as certain AVX-512 instructions. The cores will be optimized to cope with 2.4 Gbps 802.11ax Wi-Fi and faster Ethernet standards. The first of these chips will target mobile computing platforms, and will be quad-core parts like the dies pictured below. To save notebook PCB real-estate, Intel will put the processor and PCH dies into a multi-chip module. It will be quite a wait for the desktop implementation, but at least you know what their case-badges look like.

Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Brings PCIe Gen 5 and DDR5 to the Data-Center

As if the mother of all ironies, prior to its effective death-sentence dealt by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Huawei's server business developed an ambitious product roadmap for its Fusion Server family, aligning with Intel's enterprise processor roadmap. It describes in great detail the key features of these processors, such as core-counts, platform, and I/O. The "Sapphire Rapids" processor will introduce the biggest I/O advancements in close to a decade, when it releases sometime in 2021.

With an unannounced CPU core-count, the "Sapphire Rapids-SP" processor will introduce DDR5 memory support to the data-center, which aims to double bandwidth and memory capacity over the DDR4 generation. The processor features an 8-channel (512-bit wide) DDR5 memory interface. The second major I/O introduction is PCI-Express gen 5.0, which not only doubles bandwidth over gen 4.0 to 32 Gbps per lane, but also comes with a constellation of data-center-relevant features that Intel is pushing out in advance as part of the CXL Interconnect. CXL and PCIe gen 5 are practically identical.

Intel Drivers Reveal 400, 495 Series Chipsets for Comet Lake, Ice Lake - New Year, New Socket, Same 14 nm Process

Data extracted from Intel's latest Server Chipset Driver (10.1.18010.8141) mentions support for new chipsets, which will bring about compatibility for the company's upcoming Comet Lake chips. Comet Lake, if you remember, is Intel's latest gasp in the 14 nm process for CPUs, and should bring up to 10 cores to the consumer segment. The increase in maximum number of cores will naturally be Intel's justification for the need for new chipsets and sockets, due to "electrical incompatibilities" and increased requirements in the power delivery subsystem.

If you're looking for the latest and greatest changes to Intel's architecture and manufacturing process, you'll have to wait for Ice Lake, for which the 495 series chipset brings compatibility. But for that one, you'll have to wait until 2020. Let's see what AMD's Ryzen 2 brings to the table against Intel's current (and up to 10 nm Comet Lake) offerings. Even excluding platform longevity, AMD's architecture and core density really has been giving Intel a run for its money.

Intel "Tiger Lake" Architecture Combines Willow Cove CPU Cores and Xe iGPU

Even as Intel banks on 10 nm "Ice Lake" to pull it out of the 14 nm dark ages, the company is designing a fascinating new monolithic processor SoC die that succeeds it. Codenamed "Tiger Lake," and slated to debut in 2020, this die packs "Willow Cove" CPU cores and an iGPU based on Intel's Xe architecture, not Gen11. "Willow Cove" CPU cores are more advanced than the "Sunny Cove" cores "Ice Lake" packs, featuring a redesigned on-die cache, additional security features, and transistor optimization yielded from the newer 10 nm+ silicon fabrication process.

Intel is already boasting of 1 TFLOP/s compute power of the Gen11 iGPU on "Ice Lake," so it's logical to predict that the Xe based iGPU will be significantly faster. It will also support the latest display standards. The "next-gen I/O" referenced by Intel could be faster NVMe, Thunderbolt, and USB standards that leverage the bandwidth doubling brought about by PCI-Express gen 4.0. Here's the catch: much like "Ice Lake," the new "Tiger Lake" chip will get a mobile debut as Tiger Lake-Y or Tiger Lake-U, and desktop processors could follow later, possibly even 2021, depending on how much pressure it faces from AMD.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

Intel to Use 5-digit Processor Model Numbering with 10th Gen?

A lot of us could be wondering how Intel could number its client-segment processors after the i9-9980XE, or the 9th generation Core in general, and hoping for a major branding change or at least a change in the model numbering scheme. It turns out, Intel will brazen it out with a 5-digit model number and stick to the current scheme. Going by this scheme, the successor to the Core i7-9700K could be the Core i7-10700K, for example. Intel jumped from 3-digit to 4-digit as it transitioned from 1st gen Core to 2nd gen as it ran out of 3-digit numbers with the Core i7-9xx. It's now running out of 4-digit numbers.

Evidence of 5-digit number surfaced when Thai enthusiast TUM_Apisak tweeted a screenshot of a UL Benchmarks Systeminfo page describing an unreleased Core i5-10210U, which is probably a mobile processor based on the 10 nm "Ice Lake-U" silicon slated for late-2019. With a nominal clock-speed of 1.60 GHz and "reported" speed of 2.10 GHz, the Turbo Boost frequency of this 4-core/8-thread chip is rated at almost 3.80 GHz. Japanese enthusiast Komachi Ensaka confirmed this with three other model numbers: i3-10110U, i5-10510U, and i7-10710U.

Intel 10nm Ice Lake to Quantitatively Debut Within 2019

Intel put out interesting details about its upcoming 10 nanometer "Ice Lake" CPU microarchitecture rollout in its recent quarterly financial results call. The company has started qualification of its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. This involves sending engineering samples to OEMs, system integrators and other relevant industry partners, and getting the chips approved for their future product designs. The first implementation of "Ice Lake" will not be a desktop processor, but rather a low-power mobile SoC designed for ultraportables, codenamed "Ice Lake-U." This SoC packs a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on the "Sunny Cove" core design, and Gen11 GT2 integrated graphics with 64 execution units and nearly 1 TFLOP/s compute power. This SoC will also support WiFi 6 and LPDDR4X memory.

Intel CEO Bob Swan also remarked that the company has doubled its 10 nm yield expectations. "On the [10 nm] process technology front, our teams executed well in Q1 and our velocity is increasing," he said, adding "We remain on track to have volume client systems on shelves for the holiday selling season. And over the past four months, the organization drove a nearly 2X improvement in the rate at which 10nm products move through our factories." Intel is prioritizing enterprise over desktop, as "Ice Lake-U" will be followed by "Ice Lake-SP" Xeon rollout in 2020. There was no mention of desktop implementations such as "Ice Lake-S." Intel is rumored to be preparing a stopgap microarchitecture for the desktop platform to compete with AMD "Matisse" Zen 2 AM4 processors, codenamed "Comet Lake." This is essentially a Skylake 10-core die fabbed on existing 14 nm++ node. AMD in its CES keynote announced an achievement of per-core performance parity with Intel, so it could be interesting to see how Intel hopes 10 "Skylake" cores match up to 12-16 "Zen 2" cores.

Intel Reports First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. "Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock. In the first quarter, Intel achieved 4 percent growth in the PC-centric business while data-centric revenue declined 5 percent.

Intel Soaks Up Heather Lennon, AMD RTG Digital Marketing Head

Intel has hired another of AMD's top executives as Raja Koduri hopes to basically rebuild RTG under Intel's banner and its resources. This time it's Heather Lennon, who led AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) marketing and had been with AMD for over 10 years. She directed the Team Red community and won PR Week award for Campaign of the Year 2014. Lennon bagged 40 awards for digital marketing for AMD, and is widely believed to be the brains behind the PR upper-hand AMD enjoys among tech forums and the DIY community.

Lennon now joins Intel as Senior Manager, Digital Marketing for Graphics, and will work closely with Mark Taylor, an ex-NVIDIA exec who now leads technical marketing at Intel Graphics. Other ex-AMD and ex-NVIDIA honchos include Chris Hook and Tom Peterson, respectively. Raja Koduri is overseeing Intel's ambitious project to make inroads to the discrete GPU market under the new Xe brand, not just to serve gamers and PC enthusiasts, but more importantly GPU compute, cloud compute, and AI markets. Koduri is also reportedly lending insights to Intel's new Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which debuts with its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors.

Several Gen11 GPU Variants Referenced in Latest Intel Drivers

The latest version of Intel Graphics drivers which introduce the company's latest UWP-based Graphics Command Center app, hide another secret in their INF. The file has pointers to dozens of variants and implementations of the company's next-generation Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which we detailed in a recent article. Intel will implement Gen11 on two key processor microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Lakefield," although later down the line, the graphics technology could trickle down to low-power Pentium Silver and Celeron SoC lines, too, with chips based on the "Elkhart Lake" silicon.

There are 13 variants of Gen11 on "Ice Lake," carved using execution unit (EU) count, and LP (low-power) aggressive power management. The mainstream desktop processors based on "Ice Lake," which are least restrained in power-management, get the most powerful variants of Gen11 under the Iris Plus brand. Iris Plus Graphics 950 is the most powerful implementation, with all 64 EUs enabled, and the highest GPU clock speeds. This variant could feature on Core i7 and Core i9 brands derived from "Ice Lake." Next up, is the Iris Plus Graphics 940, with the same EU count, but likely lower clock speeds, which could feature across the vast lineup of Core i5 SKUs. The Iris Plus 930 comes in two trims based on EU count, of 64 and 48, and could likely be spread across the Core i3 lineup. Lastly, there's the Iris Plus 920 with 32 EUs, which could be found in Pentium Gold SKUs. There are various SKUs branded "UHD Graphics Gen11 LP," with EU counts ranging from 32 to 64.

Intel "Ice Lake" GPU Docs Reveal Unganged Memory Mode

When reading through the Gen11 GT2 whitepaper by Intel, which describes their upcoming integrated graphics architecture, we may have found a groundbreaking piece of information that concerns the memory architecture of computers running 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. The whitepaper mentions the chip to feature a 4x32-bit LPDDR4/DDR4 interface as opposed to the 2x64-bit LPDDR4/DDR4 interface of current-generation chips such as "Coffee Lake." This is strong evidence that Intel's new architecture will have unganged dual-channel memory controllers (2x 64-bit), as opposed to the monolithic 128-bit IMC found on current-generation chips.

An unganged dual-channel memory interface consists of two independent memory controllers, each handling a 64-bit wide memory channel. This approach lets the processor execute two operations in tandem, given the accesses go to distinct memory banks. On top of that it's now possible to read and write at the same time, something that's can't be done in 128-bit memory mode. From a processor's perspective DRAM is very slow, and what takes up most of the time (= latency), is opening the memory and preparing the read/write operation - the actual data transfer is fairly quick.

Intel "Elkhart Lake" is a Low-power SoC that Embeds Gen11 Graphics

The latest patches to Intel's open-source *nix drivers drop hints of a new low-power SoC in the works, codenamed "Elkhart Lake" featuring the company's most advanced integrated graphics solution. "Elkhart Lake" is a 10 nm SoC that combines a CPU complex based on the "Tremont" microarchitecture, with an iGPU based on the company's Gen11 architecture. Gen11 makes its debut with the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors, promising big gains in graphics performance. Prototypes of a typical variant of Gen11 have been found to feature a compute throughput of 1 TFLOP/s, making them perform roughly on par with AMD's current "Raven Ridge" processors.

Intel Graphics Teases a New Gamer-Friendly Control Panel

Intel Graphics switched gears from being integrated graphics solutions for basic 2D desktop and video, to something that could appeal to gamers. The change appears to have been brought about by hiring of Raja Koduri, who led graphics teams at AMD and Apple. Intel discovered that its iGPUs can play many e-Sports games such as PUBG, World of Tanks, Warhammer: Vermitide 2, etc., and so, the company decided to do more for this segment of PC gamers that still games on iGPUs, beginning with regular driver updates that pack game-optimizations, the switch to the new DCH driver model for Windows 10, and apparently, a new Control Panel app designed for gamers.

Teased in a YouTube presentation by Intel Graphics, the Control Panel appears to show a game launcher and settings optimization tool modeled along the lines of GeForce Experience. Intel has also made big changes to the functional bits of the Control Panel, which deal with global display settings, monitor setup, etc. The new Control Panel gives us a direction of where Intel Graphics is headed: it doesn't want to leave behind gamers. The Gen11 iGPU which will be part of the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors already spark rumors of massive 3D performance improvements over current Gen9.5, and reportedly have over 1 TFLOP/s of raw compute power. The company is also working on a discrete GPU lineup under the Xe brand, targeting a variety of market segments, including gamers.
The video presentation by Intel Graphics follows.

Intel Takes Steps to Enable Thunderbolt 3 Everywhere, Releases Protocol

Intel is well on its way to making the innovation delivered with Thunderbolt 3 available to everyone. Today, Intel announced that it contributed the Intel Thunderbolt protocol specification to the USB Promoter Group, enabling other chip makers to build Thunderbolt compatible silicon, royalty-free. In addition, the USB Promoter Group announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, based on the Thunderbolt protocol. The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols will increase compatibility among USB Type-C connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices.

"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers," said Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel.

Intel Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2018 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results. The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a five percent increase in its cash dividend to $1.26 per-share on an annual basis. The board declared a quarterly dividend of $0.315 per-share on the company's common stock, which will be payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on February 7.

"2018 was a truly remarkable year for Intel with record revenue in every business segment and record profits as we transform the company to pursue our biggest market opportunity ever," said Bob Swan, Intel CFO and Interim CEO. "In the fourth quarter, we grew revenue, expanded earnings and previewed new 10nm-based products that position Intel to compete and win going forward. Looking ahead, we are forecasting another record year and raising the dividend based on our view that the explosive growth of data will drive continued demand for Intel products."

Intel 10nm "Ice Lake" to Combine "Sunny Cove" CPU Cores with Gen11 iGPU

Intel's upcoming "Ice Lake" die could be the company's biggest processor innovation in a decade, combining new clean-slate design "Sunny Cove" CPU cores, and a new integrated graphics solution based on the company's Gen11 architecture. "Sunny Cove" introduces significant IPC (single-thread performance) gains over "Coffee Lake," introduces new ISA instruction sets, including AVX-512; and a brand new uncore component; while the Gen11 graphics core is Intel's first iGPU to reach the 1 TFLOP/s mark. Intel demonstrated the ultra-low power "Ice Lake-U" SoC platform in its 2018 Architecture Day briefing.

This "Ice Lake-U" chip, with its TDP in the ballpark of 15 W, was shown ripping through 7-zip and "Tekken 7." With 7-zip, Intel was trying to demonstrate vector-AES and SHA-NI improving archive encryption performance by 75 percent over "Skylake." The Gen11 iGPU was shown providing a smoother gameplay than Skylake with Gen9, although the company neither mentioned resolution, nor frame-rates. Anandtech wagers it's above 30 fps.

Intel Demoes "Sunnycove" High Performance Core

Intel is inching closer to its December 12 "2018 Architecture Day" event targeted at assuring investors and channel partners that its short-term and intermediate-term CPU architecture roadmap looks competitive, by even demonstrating early prototypes of future architectures. One such exhibit revealed a processor demo platform codenamed "Sunnycove." It's not clear if this is a derivative of an upcoming CPU architecture (such as "Ice Lake,") or if it's the first fundamentally new CPU core design since "Nehalem."

The numbers put out by Intel scream "up to 75% more 7-zip performance," without elaborating whether they mean compression, decompression, or encryption. Speaking of the latter, this chip has some serious encryption chops, including support for new encryption instruction-sets that include SHA-NI (secure hash algorithm new instructions), and vector-AES. Much of the chip is designed to accelerate encryption, and its applications could be focused on the enterprise.

Intel Increases L1D and L2 Cache Sizes with "Ice Lake"

Intel's next major CPU microarchitecture being designed for the 10 nm silicon fabrication process, codenamed "Ice Lake," could introduce the first major core redesign in over three years. Keen observers of Geekbench database submissions of dual-core "Ice Lake" processor engineering samples noticed something curious - Intel has increased its L1 and L2 cache sizes from previous generations.

The L1 data cache has been enlarged to 48 KB from 32 KB of current-generation "Coffee Lake," and more interestingly, the L2 cache has been doubled in size to 512 KB, from 256 KB. The L1 instruction cache is still 32 KB in size, while the shared L3 cache for this dual-core chip is 4 MB. The "Ice Lake" chip in question is still a "mainstream" rendition of the microarchitecture, and not an enterprise version, which has had a "re-balanced" cache hierarchy since "Skylake-X," which combined large 1 MB L2 caches with relatively smaller shared L3 caches.

Intel Gen11 "Ice Lake" iGPU Supports DisplayPort 1.4a and DSC Enabling 5K and 8K

Intel processor integrated graphics will get its first major hardware update in 4 years since Gen 9.5 "Skylake," with the introduction of the Gen11 architecture that debuts with the company's "Ice lake" processors. The company confirmed in an XDC 2018 conference presentation that the iGPU will support DisplayPort 1.4a along with VESA DSC (display stream compression), enabling it to support display resolutions as high as 5K (5120 x 2880 pixels) with 120 Hz refresh-rate.

Without DSC, 5K-120 Hz requires 42.4 Gbps of bandwidth (not counting interconnect and protocol overheads), which even DisplayPort with HBR3 cannot provide, as it caps out at 32.4 Gbps. DSC offers "visually lossless" compression of the 5K-120 display stream down to roughly 14 Gbps, which can be comfortably handled by DisplayPort 1.4a. 8K (8192 x 4320 pixels) at 60 Hz also becomes possible. Merely supporting these new high resolutions doesn't imply Gen11 iGPUs can game at those resolutions. Support for them is necessitated by rapid increases in resolutions (pixel densities) and refresh-rates of high-end notebooks and ultra-portable devices.
The complete slide-deck follows.

Intel "Cooper Lake" Latest 14nm Stopgap Between "Cascade Lake" and "Ice Lake"

With no end to its 10 nm transition woes in sight (at least not until late-2019), Intel is left with refinement of its existing CPU micro-architectures on the 14 nanometer node. The client-desktop segment sees the introduction of the "Whiskey Lake" (aka Coffee Lake Refresh) later this year; while the enterprise segment gets the 14 nm "Cascade Lake." To its credit, Cascade Lake introduces a few major platform innovations, such as support for Optane Persistent Memory, silicon-level hardening against recent security vulnerabilities, and Deep Learning Boost, which is hardware-accelerated neural net building/training, and the introduction of VNNI (Variable Length Neural Network Instructions). "Cascade Lake" makes its debut towards the end of 2018. It will be succeeded in 2019 by Ice Lake the new "Cooper Lake" architecture.

"Cooper Lake" is a refresh of "Cascade Lake," and a stopgap in Intel's saga of getting 10 nm right, so it could build "Ice Lake" on it. It will be built on the final (hopefully) iteration of the 14 nm node. It will share its platform with "Cascade Lake," and so Optane Persistent Memory support carriers over. What's changed is the Deep Learning Boost feature-set, which will be augmented with a few new instructions, including BFLOAT16 (a possible half-precision floating point instruction). Intel could also be presented with the opportunity to crank up clock speeds across the board.
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